Being the Continuing Tales of Adventures of various Dramatis Personae on the Red Planet:
'Sergeant Rawley Ruffbrute looked over the canal to the Martian plain beyond. As he surveyed the remnants of yesterday’s battle, he cursed his luck and mumbled to himself, “‘Ere we go again”.
Ruffbrute was Captain Sebastian Softlove’s orderly and had been since the young officer joined the Prince’s Own Regiment at the start of the Martian campaign some five years earlier. He’d grown to like him too; Softlove was a decent officer who knew how to soldier, was fair to the men and wasn’t afraid to lead from the front.
Softlove was providing an escort to reporters of the Illustrated London News when the Sky Martians attacked New Victoria, but now he was missing in action and feared dead. One of the reporters, Harry Wallop, had reported seeing Softlove and his men overwhelmed by the Raas-Taa-Faari tribe as they defended the vehicles carrying the pressmen. The fight had been vicious and bloody, and Wallop was convinced that The Prince’s Own had been slaughtered to a man.
At the time of the attack Ruffbrute had been leading an independent patrol and wasn’t with his captain when he fell, a fact that had been preying on his mind. If he’d been with Softlove at the time things may have turned out differently. He needed to be certain that Softlove wasn’t still alive, he couldn’t leave his friend out there wounded and at the mercy of the heathen Martians.
However Ruffbrute’s desire to find his captain was not solely out of a sense of loyalty, he had another reason too; money. A few days prior to the battle, Softlove had spoken to him about an opportunity for them both to become wealthy men. Whilst entertaining Everelda Dyke, one of New Victoria's debutantes and niece of the renowned Professor von Stypher Dyke, Softlove learned of how her brother Everard had discovered a valley full of Martian tombs. By the end of an enjoyable but very exhausting evening, the captain had all the information he needed to mount a small expedition to the valley. Unfortunately for Ruffbrute he had none of the details, they were all still in Softlove's head; if he was to become a rich man he had to find his captain alive.
Ruffbrute shouldered his rifle, turned to the ragtag group of men at his side and said "C'mon lads, let's get to it." '
Sergeant Rawly Ruffbrute: